Media watch – Saturday

29 December 2018


Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

Previous Post


  1. Gezza

     /  December 29, 2018

    NASA has detected something weird about Ultima Thule days before flyby

    New Horizons will make its closest approach to Ultima Thule in the wee hours of January 1 – 12.33am EST (6.33pm NZ time). The spacecraft will zoom within 3500km of Ultima Thule, its seven science instruments going full blast. The coast should be clear: Scientists have yet to find any rings or moons around it that could batter the spacecraft. New Horizons hurtles through space at 50,700 kph, and even something as minuscule as a grain of rice could demolish it. “There’s some danger and some suspense,” Stern said at a fall meeting of astronomers. It will take about 10 hours to get confirmation that the spacecraft completed – and survived – the encounter.

    It will take almost two years for New Horizons to beam back all its data on Ultima Thule.

    This is so cool. Can’t wait to see some images.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 29, 2018

      How in the galaxy do they get communication signals so far without dissipating? They have a 2m dish high gain antenna on the spacecraft and monster dishes in the US, Spain and Australia to cope with the Earth’s rotation. Stunning technology.

      • Gezza

         /  December 29, 2018

        They absolutely stun me every time – these people who manage to orbit and land probes on asteroids and get back images and data from deep space. It’s all Newtonian physics, mathematics. But it’s so precise knowing when and how to use gravity assists and orbital adjustments with tiny bursts from small jets etc. Amazing people. And they have to be sooo patient.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 29, 2018

        The power supply is fascinating too – powered by plutonium decay:

  2. Gezza

     /  December 29, 2018

    Just watched the first episode of a new series on Prime TV called Guiltology, featuring detectives talking about their cold cases that can now be solved with new sciences.

    The first one was about a Sherri Rasmussen, found dead in February 1986 in an apartment she shared with her husband, John Ruetten, in Van Nuys, California. Rasmussen had been beaten and shot three times in a struggle. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) initially considered the case a botched burglary, and the crime remained unsolved for more than 20 years.

    Advances in analysis of DNA evidence proved that a bite mark left on her arm had been made by a woman, which completely changed detectives assessment of the crime scene and made them realise it had been staged to look like a burglary.

    It turned out she had been murdered not only by a woman, but one who was a police officer, Rasmussen’s former girlfriend, working in the same department as the detectives. She got 27 years.